Carolina Villa Sanin

Carolina Villa Sanin

Programme: OneMBA Class of 2021
Nationality: Colombian
Age: 34
Job title: campus development manager at Planet B.io/DSM
Previous degree: professional doctorate in engineering at Delft University of Technology

Carolina lived in Germany before moving to the Netherlands for her technical studies in Delft nine years ago. She then spent some time in Sri Lanka and Brazil before coming back to the Netherlands. She lives in Rotterdam with her girlfriend, and likes brewing beer, rock climbing, travelling, and going to music concerts.

1. Why did you decide to do the OneMBA?

“I have a technical background, and wanted to broaden my role in a different field. It’s a good combination and I get the best of both worlds: I have enough tools to do science and technical stuff but now get another perspective. I also wanted a global experience so I like that it’s with other universities and that travel is part of the programme. And RSM’s rankings are good, and through discussions with RSM alumni I knew it would be the right choice.”

2. How is the OneMBA experience affecting your work?                   

“I can apply my learnings directly. My role is to set up an incubator for start-ups. I get the technical stuff, but I’ve now improved my performance. The OneMBA has given me new perspectives and I now know how to ask the right questions. The knowledge from RSM has helped me to get more leadership in the process and pay more attention to other aspects such as the financials.”

3. How has the Personal Leadership Programme (PLD) affected you?

“It’s helping me to refocus my direction. The things that come up aren’t new, but revisiting them helps me realise that I shouldn’t get distracted from what I want. We just started the programme so it’s early to tell, I’m curious to see where this goes.”

4. Do you notice different approaches when you work within your global teams?

“I’ve lived in several countries and work in a global company now, so I’m used to this. It’s nice to see how other classmates experience it. As for the cross-continental projects: they’re doable as long as you’re organised and plan ahead.”

5. How are you experiencing the Global Residencies?

“Brazil was great. It’s fascinating to get a global perspective: you’re seeing and hearing about business where it’s actually happening from the people involved. There’s a nice balance between learning knowledge and content, and getting to know your classmates in a social environment. We have a class of 35 here, and all of a sudden I was surrounded by about 100 OneMBA participants. There were different dynamics and ways of approaching things.”

6. What has been the best part of OneMBA for you so far?

“People and diversity. We all come from different industries and backgrounds. It makes the discussions in class very rich. I’ve lived in different countries but always worked in the same industry: biochemicals. For example, I’ve not been exposed to bankers – and their perspectives – before. This has been very insightful.”

7. After the OneMBA, what does the future hold?

“I’ve always dreamt of having my own social business. Through the OneMBA, I hope to get enough elements to get my start as a social entrepreneur. I have a raw idea of a venture that’s linked to community development in various regions. I want to move to Asia after the programme, and then eventually move back to Colombia and work on the business there, and hopefully expand within South America.”